A cleaner, greener fleet through BCP Council’s first Sustainable Fleet Management Strategy

The residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are set to benefit from cleaner air in the future, with BCP Council’s first Sustainable Fleet Management Strategy recommending a significant increase in the number of Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles across its fleet, in a report being discussed at Cabinet later this month.

The council’s first Sustainable Fleet Management Strategy seeks to deliver an integrated corporate fleet management service, underpinned by the requirement for a sustainable Fleet Asset Replacement Programme.

As part of the council’s climate emergency declaration and pledge to make operations carbon neutral by 2030, this strategy will see an investment in alternative fuel technology and infrastructure to support a significant increase in the number of Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) purchased and operated across the conurbation alongside a reduction in CO2 emissions from the non ULEVs.

The council operates 611 vehicles including large goods vehicles, vans, tippers, pick-ups, minibuses, cars and tractors. Earlier this year, it began a trial using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as a drop-in alternative to regular diesel with no modifications or changes necessary to the existing fleet. This advanced renewable and sustainable fuel offers a 90% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and saves waste oils going to landfill or being disposed of as hazardous waste, helping to promote sustainable resource management as part of the council’s operations.

Councillor Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Cleansing and Waste commented:

“We have been committed to investigating alternative environmentally friendly fuels for a while now and this HVO trial is a continuation of our approach to test and evaluate any promising innovative solutions in our specific operating environment to enable us to make informed decisions to feed into this strategy.

“Since introducing the trial, we have been approached by other fleet operators who have also been evaluating HVO with positive results and others keen to learn from us, so I’m delighted that we’re able to incorporate this fuel alongside investment in more ULEVs.”

The Fleet Asset Replacement Programme totalling £26.9 million will see the replacement of core vehicles, plant and equipment as they come to the end of their economic life. A further £390,000 capital spend will also be considered to fund supporting infrastructure for ULEV purchases going forward. If approved at cabinet, the funding will then be subject to full council approval.

Councillor Mike Greene, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability, BCP Council commented:

“This proposed strategy sets out our commitment towards achieving sustainable fleet management for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Investing in a cleaner, greener fleet helps towards our sustainable environment objective without compromising on the quality of the vital services we deliver daily to our residents.

If approved, this will help inform our fleet operations pathway for the next three years and will be reviewed annually to ensure it remains fit for purpose.”

To enable the future adoption of more electric vehicles across the council’s fleet, the programme will be put in place to ambitiously build on the existing 13 EV fleet currently operated, with a further 104 electric vehicles purchased within an overall total of 369 fleet replacements required in this period.